Archive for the ‘Godox PROPAC PB960’ Category

MYN – Hits and misses

May 25, 2020

This blog post might have been called “New ways of doing the same old thing.” In other words, experimenting with new techniques for shooting sets of macro photos of a familiar  subject and new variations for creating focus-stacked composite images.

80mm (120mm, 35mm equivalent) | f/16 | 1/200s | ISO 160 | 0 ev

Tech Tips

In-camera focus bracketing was used to shoot a photo set with my Fujifilm X-T3 mirrorless digital camera and Fujinon 80mm macro lens (coupled with 11mm and 16mm extension tubes for a little additional magnification).

The camera lens was focused manually on the closest point on the face of the subject. The shutter button was pressed one time; the first photo was taken after a 10-second timer elapsed, then the focus point advanced automatically from the initial focus point to a far point on the subject in the background of the photo.

RAW FILE CONVERTER EX 3.0 was used to batch-convert the resulting 50 images from Fujifilm RAF files to TIFF files. Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to create five sub-stacks (10 photos per sub-stack) that were combined into one focus-stacked composite image. The final image was edited using Apple Aperture.

Analyzing the results

Most of the “misses” were self-inflicted.

For example, minimal effort was invested in arranging the subject and lighting the scene. Generally speaking, better lighting results in better photos.

Some trial and error is required in order to determine the correct focus bracketing settings for a given combination of camera and lens. The following settings were used to shoot the photo set for the focus-stacked composite image featured in this post: Frames = 50; Step = 10; Interval = 4 s.

Step size is a number from one (1) to 10, with one being the smallest increment and 10 being the largest. Although a step size of 10 enabled the camera to cover the subject completely from front-to-back in 50 frames, selecting the coarsest step increment might have resulted in small “focus gaps” that are noticeable in a few places on the full-size version of the composite image.

I cabled a Godox PROPAC PB960 to the Godox TT685C external flash unit that is used to backlight the white background. The power pack enables faster flash recycle times and increases the number of times the flash can be fired before its AA batteries run down. That was a big “hit!”

I didn’t realize the radio flash trigger was set for a power ratio of 1/4 +0.7 — that’s 2/3 of a stop slower than my preferred setting of 1/2 +0.3 that usually results in the pure white background (255, 255, 255) that is a goal of the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique. That was a big “miss” I was able to correct in post-processing, although increasing the exposure enough to blow out the background might have degraded image quality a little.

One of many reasons the Fujifilm X-Series cameras are so popular is their retro look and feel, including lots of buttons and dials on the camera body. That’s good and bad: it’s good to be able to adjust many camera settings using either an external button or dial rather than navigating through menus in the camera’s firmware; it’s bad that it’s easy to change camera settings accidentally.

I must have rotated the back dial slightly because the shutter speed was set for 1/200 s rather than the camera sync speed of 1/250 s. Using a faster shutter speed can result in sharper images.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Macromia illinoiensis exuvia (face-head) redux

May 22, 2020

A Swift River Cruiser dragonfly (Macromia illinoiensis) exuvia was collected, with permission from park staff, on 27 May 2017 along the Potomac River at Riverbend Park in Fairfax County, Virginia USA.

The preceding image shows the remnant ommatidia clearly.

From this viewpoint, it’s harder to see the prominent horn on the face that is a key field mark for larvae/exuviae in the Family Macromiidae (Cruisers). The base of the triangular horn is located above the labium (face mask), between the long, thin antennae; the apex of the triangle is pointed toward the viewer.

It’s easier to see the horn in the featured photo in my last blog post.

Tech Tips

The subject was photographed against a pure white background (255, 255, 255) using the “Meet Your Neighbours” (MYN) technique.

20 photos of the specimen were taken using 2.5x magnification at an aperture of f/4; in-camera focus peaking was used to highlight select areas in each photo. RAW FILE CONVERTER EX 3.0 was used to convert Fujifilm RAF files to TIFF files. Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 was used to create a focus-stacked composite image that was edited using Apple Aperture.

Copyright © 2020 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Peak Design Anchor Links

October 26, 2018

A set of Peak Design Anchor Links was used to connect a Godox PROPAC PB960 Lithium-Ion Flash Power Pack to the strap that shipped with the battery. The power pack fits better in one of the larger pockets on a safari vest without the strap.

I can never remember how to thread photo gear straps safely and securely, so I loosened the strap on one side of the battery to see how it was done.

Parts, before assembly.

The next photo shows one of the Anchor Links connected to the battery, and one of the Anchors connected to the end of the strap.

Anchor Link component parts connected to battery and strap.

The last photo shows the Anchor Link, well, anchored to the Anchor.

Anchor Link component parts connected.

Added flexibility using Anchor Links

The strap for the Godox battery pack can be repurposed as a replacement for the strap on my Panasonic Lumix superzoom bridge camera; the old strap is frayed at the point where it’s connected to the camera and is cause for concern.

Each set of Anchor Links ships with four (4) Anchor Links and two (2) Anchors, so I connected the other two Anchor Links (not shown in the preceding photos) to my Panasonic camera. Now it’s quick and easy to use one strap for two pieces of photo gear!

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Burst mode flash photography

October 12, 2018

This post provides a brief demonstration of burst mode flash photography using the gear shown in the following photo: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera plus Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube and Fujinon XF80mm macro lensGodox XProF radio flash triggerGodox TT685F external flashGodox PROPAC PB960 Lithium-Ion Flash Power Pack; and Quantum Instruments CZ2 Power Cable (for Turbo Series Power Packs).

Godox flash photography gear.

The Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera is set for “CL” (continuous low) burst mode. The Godox TT685F external flash unit is set for Manual mode at 1/128 power, as shown on the LCD of the Godox XProF radio flash trigger mounted on the camera hot shoe. The external flash unit is connected to a Godox PROPAC PB960 power pack using a Quantum Instruments cable.

The external flash unit is powered by a set of four AA batteries, as usual. The external power pack enables a much faster recycle rate for the flash than is possible using only AA batteries.

The Quantum Instruments CZ2 Power Cable fits Canon external flash units such as the Canon MT-26EX-RT Macro Twin Lite and Canon 580EX- and Canon 580EX II Speedlites, as well as Godox external flash units made for Canon, Fujifilm, and Olympus/Panasonic digital cameras. You may want to buy two cables, since the Godox PROPAC PB860 can power two flash units at once.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Godox flash photography gear

October 9, 2018

The photos in this gallery show the following photography gear: Fujifilm X-T1 digital camera plus Fujifilm MCEX-11 extension tube and Fujinon XF80mm macro lens; Godox XProF radio flash trigger; Godox TT685F external flash, Godox PROPAC PB960 Lithium-Ion Flash Power Pack; and Quantum Instruments CZ2 Power Cable (for Turbo Series Power Packs).

Godox flash photography gear.

The Godox TT685F flash head is the same size as a Canon 580EX II Speedlite so slide-on plastic light modifiers that work with a 580EX II will work with the TT685. That said, some work better than others. The “Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce OM-EY” is a tight fit — too tight in my opinion. The “Vello Bounce Dome (Diffuser) for Canon 580EX II Flash” is a perfect fit.

The Godox radio flash trigger and external flash unit are compatible with both TTL and HSS (high-speed sync flash).

Godox flash photography gear.

The Godox TT685F external flash can function as either a radio master or radio slave. According to the B&H Photo Web page for the TT685F, current as of 01 November 2018, the flash can also function as either an optical master or optical slave.

Much to my surprise, the TT685F cannot function as either an optical master or optical slave. I had hoped to be able to use the TT685F as an optical master to remotely trigger other Fujifilm-compatible external flash units such as my Nissin i40 or Fujifilm EF-X500. This is a BIG disappointment, especially since the TT685C for Canon Cameras features both optical master/slave and radio master/slave modes. Although both the TT685F and TT685C sell at the same retail price point of ~$110, you’re paying for less-capable hardware in the TT685F and that’s just not right! Hey Godox, are you listening?

The Godox PROPAC PB960 Lithium-Ion Flash Power Pack can be used with the TT685F to enable burst mode flash photography. A follow-up blog post will feature a short video clip showing that burst mode flash works quite well.

Editor’s Notes

I contacted B&H Photo on 10 October 2018 via an online chat with a customer service representative named “Dan W.” Dan admitted the B&H Photo Web page for the Godox TT685F is (or was) incorrect. The following quote is an excerpt from the transcript of my chat with Dan W.

“Optical master/slave transmission is available for working with other standard flashes.”

I asked “How do we make this right? I don’t want to return the TT685F but I’d be happy to settle for a discount on another Godox flash.” After talking with a manager, B&H offered to give me a $5.00 discount on another flash unit. B&H misrepresented the product I bought in good faith and their best offer to make it right is $5? Please, get serious.

I have always raved about B&H Photo and its extraordinary customer service. Whenever there has been a problem with an order, it was always resolved quickly in my favor. B&H’s latest offer of a $5.00 discount is an insult and NO WAY TO BUILD CUSTOMER LOYALTY!


As it turns out, the Godox Web page for the TT685F, current as of 12 October 2018, says the flash can also function as either an optical master or optical slave.

It’s noteworthy that the graphic of the flash LCD shows the icon for radio master/slave mode. Hey Godox, does anyone fact-check your Web pages before they are published? This is false advertising!

Copyright © 2018 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

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